What is Edema?

Edema is an excess of fluid that can get trapped in the body’s tissue causing swelling. In most cases, this trapped fluid is held in the feet and legs, but it can happen on many other parts of the body as well.

Many times, edema is a result of congestive heart failure (CHF). When a person is experiencing CHF, their heart loses the ability to effectively pump blood through the body. The blood can back up in the lower extremities, which leads to swelling or edema.  Other causes can be as a result of medication, pregnancy, kidney disease, venous insufficiency and other underlying conditions such as lung, liver, kidney and thyroid diseases, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Edema, in the presence of a wound, increases your chance of an amputation. The excess build op of fluid and swelling can limit blood circulation, which makes wounds harder to heal, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Symptoms of Edema

  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Stretched and shiny skin over the affected area
  • Pressure on the affected area will leave a dimple
  • Trouble walking

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Treatment options

Lifestyle change is an important treatment for edema. Here are a few ways to treat symptoms without medication from Everyday Health.

Lifestyle changes:

  • Exercise the part of the body that is affected by edema to increase blood flow
  • Massage the affected area with non-painful strokes
  • Reduce salt intake to decrease fluid retention and swelling
  • Ask your doctor about compression socks to prevent swelling from reoccurring
  • Understand underlying conditions and treat them
  • Quit smoking
  • Monitor weight through healthy diet and regular exercise

There are water reduction pills and other medication you can take to reduce the symptoms of edema. Always talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any medication. For more information, visit our website at firstcoastcardio.com